I have this re-occuring dream. I’m inside Christopher Nolan’s mind. Inside his brain while he sleeps. There are two labeled doors, one conscious. The other sub-conscious. Already, I’m bored, but I hear music through the cracks in the sub door, so I push it open. It’s a Japanese mansion with a smoky lounge with a room full of strange people all listening to Stevie Nicks. She’s onstage, says some rubbish about just having smoked weed. Cackles, showing lots of age lines. Leans into some familiar chords on a dulcimer. A drum machine keeps the beat.
“Now here you go again, you say, you want your freedom.” She’s looking right through me. “Well, who am I to keep you down?” Her voice is creeping me out, so I scan for an exit door. A voice says run. So, I do, or we do. Someone is on my ass, chasing me? I don’t turn around.
Outside the club, an outdoor café in some busy city. Turns out the chaser is Paris Hilton with some little dog and her cell phone which she is constantly checking. Texting. Checking. Texting.
“Hello?” I say.
Giggles. “Where’s our waiter?” she asks.
I figure this might be a long night. “Do you have any idea why you’re here?”
She looks up from her Iphone. Shrugs. “I give up. Picture time. ” She snaps a quick photo of herself.
The waiter brings our coffee.
“He was cute,” she says. “I think, but I’m not sure, I mean, this is kinda random, but are you my philosophy teacher?” She ends her sentences on an upward swing. “Like, Philosophy 101?”
I laugh. “Maybe. Who knows?”
“Yeah, that’s funny, cause I never am. Sure. Of anything.”
So, I start to explain why I think we are there, how we ended up ditching Stevie and are supposed to find a millionaire’s son, but she fidgets.
“Do you know any?” she asks. “Millionaires, I mean.”
“I don’t.” But then, maybe that’s why we’re here. Why she’s here.
“Cmon,” she says, “Let’s ditch this hole.”
And as soon as she says hole, little fireless explosions ignite all around us in slow-mo. Pieces of the café, street, animals blow into smithereens in slow-motion and my eyes widen.
“Are you see-?”
She nods. “Cool. Better than Disney on mescaline.”
We end up at her millionaire friend’s mansion on the outskirts of some vague place. Tall trees, shrubs shorn into interesting designs, former presidents and such. On the way over she gives me the skinny.
“This guy, Brad’s dad, is, like, huge. He lives in Sydney now, was friends with my dad.”
We walk over the drawbridge. “Okay. How’d he make his money?”
“Who cares? Oh, he invented the post-it note, or dialysis machines. Something really major like that.”
We get into the elevator. She says, “what about your ex-wife?”
I pause. “How did you know?”
“’Cause everybody at a Stevie Nicks concert has one.” She presses 9. We start up.
“She’s dead. They think I’m responsible.”
She stares at me for a long time. “You’re so serious.” Then just before the door opens, she says, “Can you tell I have extensions? Nicky says she can. I just started my own line, called DreamCatchers. Isn’t that—”
We both look out of the elevator. It’s a beach, we’re looking at me and my dead wife.
“Cool,” Paris whispers. “It’s surreal, like we’re watching a movie.”
They’re rolling in the waves and Paris says “Gross! Saltwater is sticky yucky.”
It’s painful to watch, and I can’t stop, so I press 5. “Wait, I’m confused. Is this your dream? Or mine?”
The door closes. She says, “I didn’t catch your name.”
“It’s Dummkopf,” I say.
I nod. The door opens into a room where a man is kneeling at the bedside of the millionaire. We enter the room and after Paris introduces us, we all decide to fly first class to Los Angeles. Oh yeah, Did I mention the millionaire lives in Australia? And just before we leave, Paris says, “grab one of the dialysis machines!” I begin to wonder if I am trapped inside this potentially infinite dream, if it truly is never-ending. Limbo. Maybe I’ll never see my kids again. Images of the back of their heads plague me.
Onboard, while Brad is in the bathroom, I attempt to tell Paris how we need to develop a plan to plant an idea in Brad’s head.
“You mean, like, you’re not gay?”
Um. “Sort-of, yeah.”
“Easy, but I gotta tell you, he’s really not aging well. I thought he was gonna be a lot hotter.”
I try to swing Paris’s attention back around. “Say I tell you not to think of an elephant, what’s the first thing you do? You think of an elephant.”
She held out her hands. “Actually, I was thinking I need a mani pedi.”
Hopeless. The rest of the team assembles around us: a man who looks like he just stepped out of the Matrix (“where did he get that suit?” I ask Paris and she mouths “Fred Segal”), an African olfactory export who drives vans capably while being shot at, another man who morphs into the millionaire’s father (this will be helpful later I’m told) and when Paris admits she might be in “over her head,” I tell her just focus on the maze.
“You’re the architect,” I remind her.
“Okay, Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s?”
We all end up sleeping in first class, hooked up to the same dialysis machine fronting as a dream center. We’re on the third level now, going in deep. Meanwhile, we’re in a white van, getting chased by thugs. We tumble, and then accidentally bust through a bridge as tall as the George Washington. We begin to fall in trance-like slow motion, backwards. (Time slows way, way doooowwwwnnnn on this level).
Meanwhile, when we surface, we’re in white ski parkas on the North Pole. Or Canada. I’m not really sure. Some amorphous landscape. Turns out it’s where the millionaire is, inside this James Bond stone structure. We’re armed with Vektors, Sigs, Glocks, Berettas. Loaded and cocked. Snowmobiles, skies, goggles, the works.
“Ever skied before?”I ask Paris.
“Hell, yeah.” We slalom, skating toward the monumental fortress.
Somehow we manage to get out only killing a few dozen people. I have a sidebar in which I reconcile my guilt about shoving my wife off the deep edge, so to speak. Seems like eternity. Paris helps me more than she knows during that part. I have no idea how. Feels like we lived lifetimes together. And yet, she goes back to grad school. Wait, maybe not. I’ve forgotten now.
As the dream winds down, I’m in that Japanese mansion, like the one at the beginning. The same guy sits at the opposite end of a long table, but he looks really ancient. We talk, it’s like “there’s no place like home” because I can go home now that I’m guilt-free. My Dad meets me at LAX, who in this dream is Michael Caine. Then at the house, my kids, when I call them, finally turn and look at me, come running. “Daddy, daddy.” I gather my son in my arms, hug my daughter to my leg. Ah, it was all worth it.
And then I wake up.